Book Review: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

I have been debating with myself about whether or not to do a review of this book because, while I didn’t dislike it, I found it to be only mildly interesting and largely forgettable. However, there were things that I did enjoy and so I ultimately decided that I’d take a few minutes to write out my thoughts on this one.

Windwitch by Susan Dennard is the sequel to Truthwitch and the second book in the The Witchlands series.

Blurb from goodreads:

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

Most of this book I didn’t find all that interesting. For me, in order to click with a book, I ww-coverhave to at least care about what happens with the characters. Whether I have a strong positive or negative reaction to a character it doesn’t matter, as long as I am emotionally moved then I can connect with a book in some way so that it leaves an impression on me. The worst thing for me as a reader is feeling complete indifference and that’s, unfortunately, where I’m at with these characters. I confess this was a large part of my problem with the first book as well, although there I did enjoy the friendship and sisterhood between the two girls Iseult and Safi, and also the relationship between Safi and Merik.

In Windwitch the characters are, for the most part, separated from each other. Sure, they have other companions and they play off of each other, but I don’t really feel anything at all toward Vivia except for ‘wait, weren’t we supposed to hate her? Why is Safi teaming up with her again? Is she not bad? What is happening?’ And Safiya felt more like a pawn side-character in this book, rather than a protagonist. Meanwhile I did, somewhat, enjoy the relationship between Merik and Cam because I liked Cam and also because it’s nice to have someone tell Merik off now and then. Merik was understandably cranky in this book but I just found him, overall, to be tedious. There is a new character that pops up near the end that I am sure will have a much bigger role in the third book and that could be promising, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Now for the best thing about this book:  Iseult and Aeduan. Here is where I admit, again, that I’m a sucker for romantic plot lines. And I’m especially susceptible to the kinds of romance where enemies become reluctant friends and then they start to really care for each other. Every time the book went away from one of their POV’s I was just waiting for it to return to them. The two of them, having to work together for their mutual benefit, their growing feelings for one another….those parts were so well written and enjoyable to read.

As for the actual plots in the book, I find myself  not really caring all that much about the political machinations because I have no reason to care about who wins or loses. Is there a reason that we should care, other than who sits the throne? Maybe the third book will bring all of this together for me, and I hope that it does, because right now I’m just not seeing who I am supposed to be rooting for here.

I enjoy some aspects of the world-building, especially the way the magic works with the different kinds of witches who have specific types of powers. Ability based magic like this always reminds me a little bit of superhero powers and I enjoy seeing that type of thing in a secondary world fantasy setting. As for all of the countries and politics, in this particular book it’s just not for me. I feel like it is well written, but it’s just not exciting for me.

To sum up, this was an okay read, although mostly forgettable. I really enjoyed Iseult and Aeduan’s partnering up in this one but everything else was boring to me. Still, going to continue the series when the next book comes out because there’s always the chance that something will click for me in the next one. If you like political maneuvering, jockeying for power, mild romantic subplots, and ability based magic systems, this might be a good read for you. Rated 3/5 stars.

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